Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Malay Satay Hut: Restuarant Review

Growing up with the occasional Malaysian food (my mother's family is from Malaysia), sometimes I get cravings, especially for items that remind me of the different trips I have taken to Malaysia. When my family gets a particular craving, we will go to one of the only, more authentic, Malaysian restaurants in Seattle, and that is Malay Satay Hut.

Located at the outer edges of the International District, Malay Satay Hut brings a slice of Malaysian flavor to the area. Ever since I was a little girl (I want to say around 15 years ago), my family and I would come here more frequently. However, over the recent years, we just never went back (not sure why?) Maybe the food quality wasn't as good or it just fell off our radar, but more recently, we have been going back and have been enjoying it.
As you can see, their menu has a lot of options, and these are just a couple pages.
The interior is reminiscent of wood and long houses in Malaysia and has pictures of a local resort, street markets and this cheerful one of a man making the every popular Teh Tarik aka Pulled Tea (I love getting this when I was in Malaysia!)
We started off with a favorite, Roti Canai (a buttery, crispy soft layered bread of sorts) with curry (In Kuala Lumpor, I remember having it with the sugar crystals for breakfast and that was bomb!).
The roti was good and nice and light, but the curry alongside it was only so-so. As you can see we only had one potato piece per order and the curry itself was a little salty.
My cousin and I both wanted the Teh Tarik (pulled tea, black tea with cream and sugar) and I have to say it was pretty decent, for not being from Malaysia. It obviously isn't the best Teh Tarik I have tasted but it definitely satisfied the craving for the tea.
Now for our main courses. We of course love the Hainanese Chicken rice. My mom and my aunts will make this specifically for special occasions (like Chinese New Year) or sometimes on some random weekend, but they don't make it often because it takes a lot of work. You have to cook the whole chicken a specific way to make sure the flavor and texture is right. Then you have to take the fat from the chicken to use to flavor the rice and you have to cook the rice Juuuust right. Eating this at a restaurant is a nice treat because we get the great flavors without the work! Their rice was especially good. The texture wasn't mushy or too dry and the chicken flavors were perfect and it wasn't too salty. The chicken was nice and firm without being to chewy, yet it was nice and moist. This dish was on point!
We had another Malaysian (and my personal favorite) dish called Nasi Lemak which is a flavored coconut rice dish with eggs, peanuts, anchovies, and some type of curried meat ( I think this is lamb) and some sambal (a type of chili paste/condiment). I mainly like this dish for the coconut infused rice and when you mix it with the different sauces, it just makes for a flavorful combination!
We then had Fish Head Curry which I didn't really care too much for, besides just to have the okra. My mom really enjoyed it so it must've been good. I just wasn't in the mood for fish this day!
We had a salt & pepper frog leg dish. Not really sure that this is a "Malaysian" dish, but Malaysia cuisine has a lot of strong influences from Chinese cuisine so this may just be that typical salt & pepper combo used in a lot of Chinese dishes. This was a little too 'fresh' tasting for me. It was definitely better the day after. I just don't think the frog legs had enough time to soak in the salt to add flavor to the meat. Definitely not one for the faint of heart (especially when you tell people) but they really do look like mini chicken wings! The texture is similar too, just a lot more chewy.
This next dish is something translated to Buddha Taro Bowl, or Buddha Yam Pot which is basically fried taro (to act as the bowl) with stir-fry veggies and seafood in the center. I personally like the fried yam/taro part the best, I don't care too much for the items inside, except maybe just the shrimp. The presentation on this is definitely fun to look at though!
One of the last dishes we had was the Belacan okra, which is by far one of my most favorite dishes of all time! #1) I love okra, #2) I love shrimp and #3) When both are combined with onions and the belacan (which is a fermented shrimp paste that is fried) just makes for the most aromatic dish that is intense in tasty flavor. If you're not into 'fishy' items or are picky about it, this is definitely different than that and just smells and tastes amazing!
It was good coming back to this restaurant and I plan on going back again soon! My mom had already brought home food to-go from here including another one of my favorites, Char Kuey Teow, which is a wide rice noodle stir fry dish with a thick gravy. The owner even remembers my mom from coming that long ago and they talk about going 'back home' all the time and sort of reminisce also. Everything is reasonably priced, nothing super cheap, but nothing too expensive either. I would probably avoid rush hour times at lunch/dinner, but other than that, our service was good and we got our food in a timely manner.
Have you ever tried Malaysian food before?

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